One major drawback to external media is the AutoRun feature. On the surface this feature is not too bad – as soon as you put in your external media (USB drive, CD, etc.) whatever program is on there is executed automatically so you don’t have to do anything. The problem is many evil people take advantage of AUTORUN.INF to automatically spread malware and malicious content to unsuspecting users. So to fight this Panda USB Vaccine was created:
Panda USB Vaccine’s solution to the AutoRun problem is two-pronged:
- Panda USB Vaccine allows you to “vaccinate” your whole computer so the AutoRun feature is completely disabled. In other words, no matter what USB/CD/DVD/etc. is plugged in/inserted into your computer, nothing will be able to auto-execute from it.
- Panda USB Vaccine also allows you to vaccinate each individual USB drive. Once you vaccinate the USB drive, AutoRun will be disabled. ***Currently vaccinating NTFS formatted USB works but is “experimental”. Vaccinating FAT/FAT32 USBs is better supported.
If you choose to vaccinate your whole computer you only need to do it once and never run Panda USB Vaccine again. If you choose to vaccinate your USB drives, you will need to run Panda USB Vaccine everytime you have a drive you want to vaccinate (you may also keep Panda USB Vaccine running in the background and it will detect whenever a new USB drive is plugged into your computer).
One thing you should know, though, is if you do vaccinate a USB drive, the only way to “unvaccinate” it (re-enable AutoRun) is to format the drive. However if you vaccinate your whole computer you can “unvaccinate” it (re-enable AutoRun) via Panda USB Vaccine – the “Vaccinate computer” button turns into “Remove vaccination” after you vaccinate the computer.
Now of course there is one down side to all this: whenever you use a USB/CD/DVD/etc. you will need to open My Computer and manually run the software on it. However I believe that is something worth giving up to take another stab at malware. Therefore I believe Panda USB Vaccine is a simple, easy to use, handy program which can save a lot of people from infection via USB drives and other external media. You can download Panda USB Vaccine from the following link:
Panda USB Vaccine works on Windows 2000/XP/Server 2008/Vista/7
For those dotTechies who frequent Giveaway of the Day: just yesterday a program called USB Threat Defender was given out (not a keeper in my opinion if anyone was wondering). In the comments for that program someone posted a link to a WindowsSecrets article which told you how to disable AutoRun. Panda USB Vaccine does the exact same thing except Panda USB Vaccine is much more user friendly!
[via Free PC Security]